April 30, 1984
by Jim Jerome
Fleetwood Mac’s Christine Mcvie takes off in solo flight with a new boyfriend under her wing
Singer-songwriter in Fleetwood Mac has been a pretty good gig for Christine McVie. Plenty of travel; lots of perks; long stretches between albums. Pay hasn’t been too bad, either, what with some 35 million albums sold worldwide. As a result, among other things, she has been able to furnish her four-bedroom Beverly Hills home without ever eyeing a price tag. And yet McVie, 40, has managed to keep it all in perspective. “I mean, anybody can spend all their money if they work hard enough at it,” she says. “It’s not like I’ve got a piano-shaped Jacuzzi or walls full of Picassos and Monets or anything like that. I do put limits on myself: I haven’t bought the Queen Mary.”
Fair enough. Another, more concrete example of McVie’s sensible adjustment to fame and fortune at the top of rock is Christine McVie, a finely executed solo album containing the jaunty hit single Got a Hold on Me, and the follow-up, Love Will Show Us How. McVie’s LP is in the great tradition of solo efforts by members of Fleetwood Mac, following one in 1981 by guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, two platinum monsters by Stevie Nicks and two obscure releases by drummer Mick Fleetwood. Only Christine’s ex-husband, bassist John McVie, has yet to try a solo and record sans Mac.
McVie may have thrust Christine from the shadow of her megaband, but it does have guest appearances by fellow L.A.-area residents Fleetwood and Buckingham. And ex-husband McVie, who lives on the island of St. Thomas, devotedly popped into the Montreux, Switzerland studio to check on Chris. “They all said they loved the album, and I have no reason to doubt them,” she says wryly. Only Nicks hasn’t weighed in. In fact, McVie hasn’t spoken to Nicks for a year “because our paths just haven’t crossed.” Like any major act, Mac is constantly rumored to be disintegrating—and Nicks’ solo triumphs have hardly silenced that kind of talk. Still, McVie downplays any intraband melodramas. “Any competitiveness—if that’s the right word—is all quite friendly,” says McVie, who certainly doesn’t want to rock the boat. “The album is a project, not a career for me. My main interest in life is still the band.”
Well, maybe. Also competing for that honor is a 28-year-old Portuguese keyboardist-engineer-composer named Eddy Quintela, the man in Christine’s life since last summer. They met while Chris was recording her album in Europe.
“He is wonderful,” she says—and that’s all. (Her silence also covers the two years she spent with Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys drummer who drowned shortly before New Year’s while McVie was still in Europe.) “Can we please not talk about it? I mean, can we not discuss my romantic life?” she asks. Though Quintela is in the band she’ll be touring with this June, she says she has “taken precautions” against the round-the-clock claustrophobia that only a rock couple on the road can know. Indeed…she suggests that kind of closeness sabotaged her marriage to McVie: “You need space and freedom, you can’t live in each other’s pockets all the time.”
Christine, the daughter of a university music professor, traveled from her native Birmingham to London after receiving a sculpture degree, but got caught up in the blues-rock boom of the mid-’60s. After a keyboard stint with Chicken Shack, she married McVie, recorded her 1969 Christine Perfect LP and wound up in an earlier Fleetwood configuration in 1970. Four years later the group shifted its base of operations from outside London to L.A. In 1975 singer-songwriter Bob Welch left and the Californian folk-rock duo of Nicks and Buckingham—then a longtime romantic team as well—signed up. When Christine’s Over My Head got their Fleetwood Mac album to the top of the charts, they had struck megaplatinum.
Christine’s Beverly Hills digs feature a 10-room, Tudor-style ivy-covered home, a pool, a rose garden and a Japanese rock garden with a waterfall. Inside, still boxed and unread, languish “millions” of books, many of them on art and history, which McVie obsessively orders from book clubs. Christine watches “limited doses” of MTV, she says, avoids the “ordeal” of rock-clubbing and concertgoing, prefers dinners at home with the “family”—a trusted attorney and accountant, her live-in manager, and his wife, a secretary. Much of her life is spent by a fire at home, surrendering to her musical whims. “Money slash fame slash the good life doesn’t change that at all,” she says. “I still get the same pleasure creating chords and melodies as always. Money has never affected that sensation for me.”